Smile Politely

Album Review: Comfort Food

There are immediate and lazy comparisons to be made. There are names that could be dropped. But what is paramount is the fact that no one in Champaign-Urbana sounds anything quite like Comfort Food. With the rise of the machines and the downfall of the economy, the two-piece band has become more and more prevalent. Comfort Food can sound as simple as drums and bass, but have the potential to grow into a huge monster, replete with booming timbres and staggering and frantic dynamics.

This is jazz music for the disenfranchised scientists, the freaked-out and bored. It’s tantalizing, confusing, soothing in that mad-chaotic sort of way. Their use of repetition in the riffs lulls you into a sense that you have a sense of what’s going on. Then they bust out some crazy cadences and blow it all up or burn it all down. Comfort Food has weird down pat.

Comfort Food – That Man is You from Urbana Basement Sessions on Vimeo.

But in a polished-slop manner; the musicianship is apparent in how adventurous they get and how clean it finishes like a vinegar-y beer that has that sweet aftertaste. The drums stay pretty high in the mix throughout; Jake Marshall switches from tight-when-he-needs-to-be to loose enough to lose you in the music. 

Daniel Wolff is my hero. I guess he just looks at his bass’ fretboard and sees turntables. At times his playing is mostly percussive, beating you over the head with the beat; at times it’s so mathy I can’t see straight; at times there’s such lush melody I wonder how so much ground could be covered in only five tracks.

There are elements here of trip-hop, free-jazz, freakrock, avant pop, and a buncha genres I’ve neither heard nor care about. What is paramount is that no one in Champaign-Urbana sounds anything quite like Comfort Food. The recording is quality; the songwriting is absorbing.

Dig In, by Comfort Food is a unique record worthy of several listens — preferably with couches, trash cans, friends, bright lights in dim rooms, vice, velvet, love, and rugs around. Stream the record on bandcamp right now, or go buy the CD at Exile on Main Street or one of their shows, so they know they need to keep doing this stuff. This crazy stuff.

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